Question involves the state of New York
- Attorneys aren't suppose to lie to their clients
- Client depend on there attorney to provide accurate information in order to make decisions. Which is why its important for attorney not to give their client misleading statements or infomation.
It's safe to say that clients hire attorney for their knowledge pertaining to the specific area of the matter.
A client contacted a law firm regarding a dispute she was having. They decided to represent her in the case. She signed a retainer agreement about expenses she will have to pay and the amount for the attorney fees for the services and other possibilities for additional expenses.
The firm assigned an attorney to the case. The attorney wrote letter to keep the client informed regarding the process of the case. He wrote letters explaining how he got the defendant to admit certain evidence that would help us, how he proved things in the case and more.
Almost 3 years later..the dispute is ready to see a judge. There is a conference at the court house. The attorneys for both side discuss a resolution to end the dispute. The attorney present the resolution to his client (plaintiff). He told her that this was the best solution for her. The client ask the attorney if she has all the information and the truth with the case and the attorney writes back with yes he has been fully honest and told her everything with the case.
So of course; she took his advice as she saw no need for the attorney to lie to her about the solution. A year later the client was just curious to see her case file. She went to his office and request her case file. Surprisingly he was very nervous to see her.
Upon looking at the case file; she realized that he lied to her in those letter stating he was proving this and that in the case and that he got the defendant to admit things and how he was handling the case.
So now the former client is thinking whether or not was it really a good resolution or did he tell her that to cover himself. If the case would have proceeded she would have discovered the lies he was telling her.
A clause in the retainer stated: The client understands that New York State Judiciary Law Section 475-a reads that if the client terminates the agreement the "_____ Law Firm" has the right to an attorney's lien on the services performed up to the date and time of the termination. In a situation where "______ Law Firm" is discharged for cause, then no attorney's lien will be attached to the case.
The client now feels that the lawyer advised her to the solution of ending the dispute because he knew that she would eventually find out and lying to the client like this would probably be a good cause to discharge him. Which means that he wouldn't be able to collect his fees.
Now should the former client speak with the senior partners of the law firm. The client is very angry especially having to cough up close to $20,000 in fees for the attorney plus other legal expenses acquired for the case.
The attorney knew he would be able to get his fees if the client discovered he has been lying to her about the case and how he was handling it for all thing time. The attorney lied to the client, made her think he was proving and gather evidence with the case when in fact he wasn't and haven't done that. The client signed the agreement based on the information which he was telling her which turned out to be a lie. The attorney knew that if the case was to move any further into the case; he client would have eventually found out the lie and he would be discharged without collecting his fees.
The client was fed false and misleading information in order for the client to react on it.
I'm sure attorneys can't profit made from the result of its misconduct. Should I speak to the law firm senior partners, mediation or just let them keep the $20,000? Do you think what this attorney did was wrong? Why do such thing in writing when it can come back?
Please note that I have no problem paying for services; if you do the work you deserve the pay. But in this case I was fed lies. Should I try to speak with the law firm first or should I try the attorney client fee dispute in New York?